When copywriters join the Copy Chief community, one thing we ask is: “Where does it hurt?”
A lot of new copywriters tell us they “feel like a fraud” because it’s so hard to know if what you’re writing is good enough, and none of us can know until the ad goes live and buyers vote with their wallets.
If you’ve felt that lonely sting of hitting send on a final draft of copy, then this exchange might help you the way it helped Tim.
Tim: I’m just getting started. Where it hurts is that feeling of being a fraud or being under qualified to call myself a copywriter. After countless hours on forums like this, I realize that I know more than most people even if comparatively I still don’t know shit. How do you overcome that block?
Kevin’s reply: Tim, this really stood out to me because this is the exact issue I asked (John) Carlton about the first time I had his attention. (This was three computers ago, but I’ve saved the conversation all along.)
Over 100 projects later, I can tell you there is good and bad news…
Bad news first: It gets worse. The sinking doubt that you’re tossing darts at a moving board under a blindfold increases when a client’s money (and reputation) is on the line and they’re paying you the big bucks to hit a bullseye. Nobody sleeps the night before a big launch.
JC helped me over that, too with the speech he gave me in an email that hangs over my desk. (I read it on entrepreneur on fire – towards the end of the show.) The condensed message is this: You’re allowed to miss the mark. It happens. No marketer bats 1000. It takes a lot of failing to find success in this biz and the best will rattle off their fiascos with pride. Never promise what you know you can’t deliver, but otherwise swing for the fence.
And the truth is, marketers have grown up (mostly). More of them are actually testing these days, instead of just talking like they do. Big launches don’t launch without a strong show to some affiliate traffic. But there are no guarantees. You’ve got to understand that and your client does, too.
In the early days you’ll come across clients who like to put the weight of the world on your shoulders. I call these “lottery ticket clients”. They think paying a copywriter for a sales page is their only role in the project. As if you possess the magic ability to produce winning lottery tickets on demand, but prefer doing it for other people instead of yourself.
They say things like,
“I need you to write me a winner, bro” and “I’m really counting on this.”
And you say, “I’ll give it my all. When can you have the product materials over?”
“Just write whatever you think will convert the best, dude, and I’ll make the product live up!”
That’s the kiss of death. Never take that job. The product never “lives up” and you’ll take all the blame.
OK, now the good news: The fact that you’re concerned over being “qualified to call myself a copywriter” means that you’re going to kick serious ass. (If you stick with it.)
The best copywriters I know all have a few things in common. They’re natural writers, they have an inherent understanding of sales psychology, and they all care too much. You appear to have all the ingredients, Tim.
Keep flexing. It happens fast.
P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here are a few other ways we can help…
- Join Copy Chief. It’s your one-stop-shop for improving your copy chops, growing your freelance business, and keeping your finger “on the pulse” of what’s working now – all with working pro’s at your back to help you do it. Learn more and join here.
- Take your freelance business to the next “phase”
Get personal coaching from Kevin and his team to help you get better clients faster, attract higher quality clients to you everyday, and crisis-proof your business. Go here to learn about The Freelancer’s Journey and check out the programs.
- Get the truth about marketing on the Copy Chief Radio podcast. Find out what the top producers and change-makers in the world of marketing, copywriting, and business are doing to stay on top – listen here.